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Home appraisal’s ugly history and uncertain future

This is Part I of a deep dive into the home appraisal industry. Today we explore the origins of the appraisal industry and its current lack of diversity.

The digital journey starts at acquisition

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Real EstateIPO / M&A

Compass rivals question path to profitability

Critics say brokerage inflates revenue figures

Compass’s S-1, a disclosure the company filed Monday as a shareholder pitch, runs over 250 pages long.

But nowhere in the voluminous filing, observers say, is a lucid argument as how Compass might become profitable.

“They showed a $270 million loss in an insanely booming housing market,” noted Jonathan Miller, a real estate appraiser at Miller Samuel.

The S-1’s main sales points, especially an introductory section where Compass walks through its agent-friendly technology, “seems to show how little they understand the brokerage space or are just ignoring it,” Miller said.

Compass and its CEO Robert Reffkin have likely braced for such criticism.

Going public appeared a logical next move for the nine-year-old real estate brokerage. Compass is a venture capital fundraising force, raising $1.6 billion total (34% of the company’s common stock shares are earmarked for a Cayman Islands subsidiary of the Masayoshi Son-led SoftBank Vision Fund, the brokerage’s biggest VC backer). It has also gobbled up market share in its home turf of New York City and across California, among other locales.

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